TIA while responsible for river shoal marking has also been involved with other river safety programs

Origin

In August 1934 the Gananoque Reporter newspaper headlined their edition with “Summer Visitors Organize”. This came to life after its founder, George R. Webb, then Mayor of Gananoque, “expressed a desire to form some sort of protective association which would co-operate with township officials in policing the islands during the winter when owners were absent”

A group of interested island owners and local residents held their first meeting in the Gananoque Town Hall. On that momentous August day, “The Summer Residents’ Association of the Township of Leeds and Lansdowne” was born.

Soon the headlines read, “Better Marking of Shoals”. The membership felt that the shoals were on of the biggest dangers on the St. Lawrence River, and “a menace to navigation”. Hence, the start of TIA’s marking of ”those outcroppings”, or as we River Rats call them, “those darn shoals”.

At first they were marked with planks of wood, often painted a bright orange, but they got waterlogged and eventually were replaced by tin and later plastic barrels.

Over the years the membership grew beyond the Admiralty Islands, attracting boaters and islanders from the Lake Fleet, Navy and Ivy Lea Groups and Rockport. Word of mouth about the usefulness of having shoal markers spread and soon there was no boundary – TIA marked both sides of the border.

1980’s to Today

In the 1980’s the US Coast Guard decreed that all shoal markers on navigable waters had to conform to be uniform in shape and markings. The cost went from $10 a barrel to $100 each plus the price of anchor & chain (2017 cost now over $200). Everyone was asked to find new members to help cover these escalating costs.

Other TIA programs were also a success. A simple safety card to place by an island phone was created with local emergency numbers, including police, fire and pharmacies for each of the many communities.

One year the Association arranged for spray planes to help eradicate the Gypsy Moth larvae.

Other TIA initiatives have included providing defibrillators at Marinas, a campaign on fire pumps for islanders and remote locations, and funding local Canadian & US fire departments to purchase essential equipment.

TIA approached the Save the River organization based in Clayton and asked if they would like to partner in the shoal marking program – they agreed and today jointly over 300 shoals are marked. The TIA is responsible for placing shoal markers on the Canadian side from the Trident Yacht Club in the Bateau Channel to Brockville. Save the River places shoal markers on the US side from Cape Vincent to Morristown.

A special message from long time TIA member Bill Hale about our shoal marking program.

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